Students and government officials have reached a consensus to start a dialogue on political reform as soon as this week as the city edged towards some sort of normality nine days after Occupy Central protests began.
But the students also reiterated that they would not end their protests in Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok unless a substantive breakthrough was made.
Speaking after an hour-long meeting on Monday night, the Federation of Students' deputy leader, Lester Shum, said he had agreed with Lau Kong-wah, undersecretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, that there would be multiple rounds of talks and they would be based on an equal relationship and mutual respect.
"We agreed that the meeting should [start] this week," Shum said. "We want it to be a substantive dialogue, not just a casual chat or a consultative session."
Agreement has yet to be reached on the venue for the federations' meeting with Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and other top officials, with the students wanting it to be held at a university, preferably the University of Hong Kong.
Visit our photo galleries "Humans of Occupy Central" to see just who are some of the people on the streets.
Briefing the press separately, Lau said the national legislature's framework for the 2017 chief executive poll should be followed if Hong Kong wanted to reform its electoral system in a legal manner.
But Shum later suggested that Lau's insistence on the framework might be an "obstacle" that would make a constructive dialogue difficult.
Tensions eased considerably yesterday after protesters agreed to allow access to the government headquarters in Admiralty. Thousands of civil servants returned to work. Some protesters handed flowers and soup to civil servants in a show of goodwill.
The size of the protests in Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay dropped noticeably as exhaustion set in and people returned to work.